1950s >> 1950 >> no-550-june-1950

Letter to an Unpolitical Man

 Fellow Worker,

 Do not mistake me. You are a menace to yourself and to society. Our opponents we can deal with, be they Labour, Liberal, Tory, Communist or hot gospeller, for we can meet them on common ground and bowl them out. With you there is no such common ground. You’ve always had a roof over your head, a job and a wage and have thus been able to continue your miserable existence undisturbed. Wars have come and gone. You are still alive. Booms have grown into slumps. You have been lucky. No issue affecting your immediate self has shaken you from your lethargy. As a result you skulk behind your limited horizon and vegetate.

 Were you not so dangerous, one might even feel sorry for you. How stunted your imagination must be. Do you really consider that as a member of the working class, that section of the population which runs the present system of society from top to bottom, you are living in the best of possible worlds ?

 Take a look around you and what do you see? Ribbons of dull brick houses plastered haphazardly across the face of the earth as though some giant has run amok with a tube of toothpaste. Each one of them is a deathtrap, small and unhealthy to the body, frustrating to man’s natural communal instinct.

 Now look inside and view the bodged up furniture with that familiar “utility” mark. Tap the highly polished wood (but not too hard or you’ll crack it) and find it is a veneer over boxwood. Pull out the drawers and see how roughly the joints are bashed home. Not up to a standard but down to a price. Probably its proud owners are buying it on the never-never.

 On the rickety table is their food. In spite of various laws about pollution its standard is low. Sausages, part of your staple diet, contain 40 per cent, meat. Read the trade journals and see the advertisements for patent pie-filler. Learn that the raspberry jam you eat is made from swedes and potatoes, coloured and decorated with specially imported pips. Horrible, isn’t it?

 And before we leave the house let’s take a look at the people in it. Perhaps this is a ‘broken’ home. There’s enough of them around. Families are split up or even worse are living jaded lives, barely tolerant of each other’s presence. Why do you think they are like this? Could it be some supernatural cause or is it more likely that endless years of skimping and saving have turned fresh young love into bitterness? You say the pairs may not be well matched. Any wonder in a world where the worker’s social circle is doubly limited by his subsistence level wages and his limited hours of leisure.

 From the homes let us pass to the places of work. Every day since you left school you’ve experienced the rush hour packed in a stinking underground train with less comfort than a sardine. The glaring poster mocks, “Avoid Rush Hour Travel.” Don’t you wish you could?

 There is no joy in the factory or office, repeating the same old automatic process, totting up the endless columns of figures, day in, day out for more than forty years, wars and slumps permitting. There’s no sense of achievement when you’ve done because you must immediately start again. To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow . . .  No wonder it pleases you to potter about the garden or create small things of wood in the toolshed. There you are expressing yourself.

 One day it will all come to an end, and as you take your leave of life, maybe you will pause for a moment to sum up. What will be your conclusion? You were born, worked for fifty years, spent a couple more on the scrap heap and are now about ready to leave the world exactly as you came into it.

 Again I pose the question, “Do you really believe that this miserable, humdrum existence is all that the useful section of society merits?” Your masters would have you believe that these things are completely divorced from politics. Meanwhile the major political parties vie with each other for the right to gather the crumbs that they sweep from their table. But we of the Socialist Party of Great Britain take a different stand.

 We believe, indeed we can demonstrate, that this ugliness which is perpetually around us, to say nothing of the recurring periods of slump and war, have a very tangible cause in the basis of this system which you, by your apathy, allow to continue.

 No doubt you would like to see it changed but it is no use sitting back and waiting for us to do it for you. We can’t! Only you can do that! Read through our Declaration of Principles on the back page and get hold of our pamphlets. They will show you how.

 In striving to make the world a better place for men and women to live in you will find a satisfaction you have never known. Here’s hoping!


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